Innovation Circle: 20 Years of Generosity

April 29, 2024
A group of students and patrons stand together smiling

2024 Innovation Circle Patrons and Scholars

This spring, the Innovation Circle hosted its annual reception and celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Tucson Marriott University Park. 

The event was emceed by SBS Student Ambassadors Sophia Horowitz and Zoe Montaño. Innovation Circle Scholar Zoë Goebel was the student speaker, and Steven Eddy (‘05), a geography major from the inaugural class, spoke about how receiving the scholarship was “a profound moment for me in my student career.” 

Dean Lori Poloni-Staudinger recognized the founding members in attendance and thanked the Innovation Circle members for their generosity, including the Patrons who supported 56 students with Innovation Circle scholarships this year. She detailed the myriad ways Innovation Circle members make a difference. 

“Innovation Circle membership supports student internships and externships, which are often unpaid, and therefore are not feasible for many students without this needed financial support,” Poloni-Staudinger said. “Funds also go toward graduate student funding, supporting the training of our next generation of professors and thought leaders who are tackling the greatest challenges of our time.”

Poloni-Staudinger continued, “The Student Completion Fund is supported by the Innovation Circle, and I’m so pleased to let you know that with the support of all of you, we were able to provide funding in just the last month for over 15 students to … allow them to remain enrolled in the university.” 

SBS Advisory Board Chair Rowene Aguirre-Medina spoke about how our scholars are future change makers, our professors are engaged in groundbreaking research, and our donors “make the magic happen.” 

"Why do I support Innovation Circle scholars? I truly believe that the social and behavioral sciences can change the world in real and measurable ways. These students can and will make a difference in this very troubled world,” Aguirre-Medina said. 

Become an Innovation Circle member today! Learn more at


Here are a few photos (taken by Mackenzie Meitner) from the celebration!

A student sits at a dinner table with her patron as they eat

Scholar Selena Dey-Foy sitting with her Patron, Sandy Maxfield.

Two older women stand with two younger women, all posing in front of the SBS logo

Patrons Barbara Starrett (L) and Jo Ann Ellison (R) with Scholars Alyssa
Esquero and Destiny Green.

This story was included in the spring 2024 Developments newsletter.